Our God, Eager to Save

Posted January 10, 2010

Tomohisa had reached a coveted status in Japan’s vertically-ordered society: medical doctor. Along with the status came wealth, which he used to buy the affection of women…and lots of booze. His selfishness blinded... [Read More]

The Humbled Tsunami

Posted December 2, 2011

When the warning sirens went off, residents in a south Sendai neighborhood fled to the local school. Together with panicked children still in class they climbed to the rooftop. Some 600 altogether... [Read More]

Japanese Get "Bach" Hope

Posted September 21, 2011

Who would have thought Bach would be involved in 21st century mission work in Japan? I have frequently read with interest of the strong connection between classical music (particularly J.S. Bach) and Japanese interest... [Read More]

Tsunami Ground Zero

Posted April 7, 2011

I still haven't returned from tsunami ground zero. That is to say, although I've been back several days already, the reality of the scene is still with me. The incredible amounts of mud in once beautiful homes... [Read More]

"Nice Try, Kevin" File

Posted February 9, 2011

This one goes into the "Nice try, Kevin" file. I just thought it was a nice-looking bunch of flowers in the storefront and, on the spur of the moment, decided Kaori deserved to enjoy them. Chrysanthemums, however, are... [Read More]

The Gulliver Complex

Posted November 9, 2007

I'm a giant again. Well, not really. But it sure feels like it again since returning from the States. The first sign was bumping my head in the shuttle bus from the airport. By habit, I normally duck my head through any... [Read More]

Foreigners Don't Get the Point

Posted January 31, 2010

I'm standing in line at a drugstore with other shoppers. The woman in front of me has just pulled out a business card file. Hurriedly she flips through at least a hundred or more cards searching for the right one. It's a... [Read More]

More Powerful than Bombs

Posted July 5, 2008

Fuchida grew up loving his native Japan and hating the United States, which treated Asian immigrants harshly in the first half of the twentieth century. Fuchida attended a military academy, joined Japan's... [Read More]

Ready?

Posted September 14, 2010

I'd been putting it off. Although I knew it was important, taking inventory of our earthquake and disaster gear just wasn't getting done. Japan rests along the "ring of fire" in the Pacific ocean, a stretch of area that is... [Read More]

150 Years Later

Posted March 17, 2009

This spring marks the 150th anniversary of Protestant Christianity in Japan. The first protestant missionaries set foot in the port of Yokohama back in 1859. Now they were real church planters -- overcoming all... [Read More]

Stacks Image 9812
More Blog Topics
I for Japan. Japan for the World. The World for Christ. And All for the Glory of God.

— Kanzo Uchimura, Japanese Evangelist

Stacks Image 114

Rambling Notes from Japan

Here are some blog posts that we hope will make you feel a part of things, and help you understand how to pray better for us and Japan. Please see our external blog in Blogger, if this page does not display correctly.

Christmas is all about KFC

Japan spells Christmas with three "finger-lickin' good" letters: K-F-C. Move over sushi and wasabi, fried chicken is the main course on Tokyo tables at Christmastime.

The roots of this craze go back four decades. On a Christmas day in the early 1970's, foreigners in Japan flooded the newly-opened KFCs, gobbling up the colonel's best recipe. It was a poor substitute for the visions of golden-brown turkeys that danced in their heads, but it was the only crispy bird to be had around. A shrewd KFC manager watching the foreigner stampede saw yen signs. In 1974, the company presented its first Christmas meal: chicken and wine for $10. It sold well in spite of being costly for its time.

Today, a family bucket will set you back $40. Still, the Christmas fried chicken fad has taken root in a big way in Japan. A quarter million buckets (or boxes) of chicken will be sold on Christmas day alone. A savvy marketing blitz helps. Weeks ahead of time, a flurry of coupons fill mailboxes of urban homes. TV ads feature Japanese children in Santa hats (and with KFC barrels in hand) dancing about to catchy jingles. Even the revered statue of the colonel in front of KFC stores gets dressed up in a Santa suit (somehow it fits his mystique). Stores take orders four weeks in advance. Long lines form early on Christmas eve to pick up the crispy parcels. KFC has become the go-to meal at Christmastime.

Colonel Sanders would roll over in his grave if he knew that KFC has become the focus of Christmas in Japan. You see, he became a born-again Christian late in life. He knew the focus of the celebration was Christ. We do, too. Right?

I've missed a few Christmases in America. Christmas 2013 is our first in 10 years. And I've come to a conclusion after spending Christmas in Japan for awhile and now being home on furlough. I don't know whether it's really true that "Nobody does chicken like KFC." But it's definitely true that "Nobody does Christmas like America." The music and concerts, the lights and decorations, the get-togethers and endless food, the TV specials and store sales...the celebration runs the gamut from dreamy and reflective, to bustling and hectic, to grand and breathtaking. We know how to do Christmas! But we also know how to lose our focus in the whole celebration.

It turns out that Christmas really is all about KFC. That is, Keeping the Focus on Christ. Time with family and friends, twinkling decorations, tasty food, thoughtful gifts are all wonderful trimmings. But we lose out on the main course if we miss worshipping the One whose birthday celebration it really is.

When it comes to Christmas, it might be too much to ask that America would simply scale it back, tone it down, or turn some of it off. Simpler celebration doesn't seem to fit our bigger and better sensibilities. But at the very least we can individually take time to simply worship him. 1 Peter 3:15 says, "But in your hearts sanctify him as Lord." In the middle of it all, choose things that will draw you into worship of Him. And choose to see the rest in a new worshipful way. Choose to let the light displays remind you of the Light of the World who came and "gives light to every man" (Jn 1:9). Choose to let the table spread with food remind you of the Bread of Life who came and "gives life to the world" (Jn 6:33). And, of course, choose to let the presents (however quirky they may be) remind you of the "indescribable gift" (2 Co 9:15) who came to give forgiveness and cleansing, adoption into God's family, a place in eternity, and he himself to us.

Let the things of Christmas amplify and not distract your worship of Him. KFC. Keep the Focus on Christ. And that's what will really make Christmas "so good!" (KFC pun intended)

P.S. — Anyone want some Japanese KFC coupons?


[See Older Posts]

Stay in Touch

We'd like to stay in touch with you! Sign up here to receive our paper newsletter and/or monthly email prayer update.

Give to the Vision

Monthly support still needed:
$492 as of
Give securely online through WorldVenture. Gifts receipted.

Our Japan Address

4-14-24-1 Futago, Takatsu; Kawasaki,
Kanagawa JAPAN 213-0002
Tel 044-833-8791
  Email us

Our Connections

We serve with WorldVenture, an evangelical faith mission. Our sending/home church is Cornerstone Church of Lansing, Illinois.
Donate
Donate
Demo Version